A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tutus and Tinsel (Half Moon Bay #2.5) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5

Zig Reid-Harris has everything an eleven-year-old girl could ever want: a great home, two fantastic fathers named Deacon Reid and Lang Harris, and all the books she could possible read.

When a school assignment about holiday traditions unexpectedly broadsides her, she discovers burying the past isn’t as easy as it looks, and the stark reality of her life before her adoption sinks in. Ashamed of the bleakness and poverty she came from, Zig struggles with the assignment until an epiphany strikes the whole family—it’s time to start their own traditions.

Zig and her fathers plunge into the insanity of holiday joy, exploring everything the season has to offer and learning how precious family truly is along the way.

The theme of this story, making new family traditions at the holidays, comes about through a fairly typical homework assignment, one I would  imagine needs revisiting in RL schools just as it does here in Tutus and Tinsel (Half Moon Bay #2.5) by Rhys Ford.  Given the complexities these days in what constitutes a modern “family” and how that family is constructed, I would think that (hopefully) teachers at every level are becoming sensitive to handing out a “simple” homework paper on  family’s holiday traditions.

Ford takes our own memories of such an homework papers and perhaps our family traditions and runs it smack up against a small powerhouse of a character called Zig to devastating results.  Zig has no past history of “adorable Christmas traditions” having barely survived her childhood to find her uncle.  Here that lack comes roaring home and it’s up to her fathers to help her find and create new traditions for them all.

This story roils with emotions.  Rhys Ford takes us back into the past, broken shards of parental abuse and neglect that still stab at both Zig and Deacon, and Lang’s there to love and hold both close.  I loved seeing all the other characters as well pull together to try different crafts, “trying on” traditions to make their own  as a family.  This story is excellently written, tightly constructed as I  have come to expect from this author, and flows beautifully, full of emotion and heart.

Tutus and Tinsel explores what it means to be a family again at Christmas and shines a light on how exactly something becomes a family tradition in the first place.  It’s heartwarming, suffused with the holiday  spirit and love.  I found it perfect holiday reading.

It is, however, not a standalone story.  So treat yourself, if you are not already familiar with the series, to the preceding stories.  You will love them!

Cover art:   Reece Notley.  Love the cover because it captures Tig perfectly with her tutu.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook, 95 pages
Expected publication: December 21st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644051511
Edition Language English
Series Half Moon Bay #2.5

Fish Stick Fridays

Hanging The Stars

Tutus and Tinsel

A MelanieM Review: Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

hanging-the-stars-by-rhys-fordAngel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

 

Hanging The Stars, the second book in the Half Moon Bay series, had a obstacle to overcome that most Rhys Ford books don’t start out with.  I wasn’t crazy about one of the main characters right off the bat.

West Harris was a minor character in a close-to-my-heart book, Fish Stick Fridays.  A twin in appearance only to Lang Harris the bookstore owner and wonderful MC of that story, much like Zig (really you have to read that book) I was ready to write this fellow right off.  Skedaddle, out of here!  Nope, Ford was determined to put West on the road to redemption.

Well, its a hard road, I’m telling you.  I wasn’t ready to accept him right at the start.

What’s not so hard to do?  Fall in love with Angel Daniels and his brother Roman.  Ford loves her down on their luck men.  When she writes about them, builds their characters, something special happens.  A magical spark ignites, a personality pops into place and boom, there rides into the story a layered, hunted man.  Tortured past, looking to better himself for any number of reasons, trying to escape the demons running so close behind him. That Angel Daniels.  In this case, its Roman his young highly intelligent brother that’s pushing Angel to get them a better life.  A few scenes, snappy dialog, and hints of their awful past. and there you are, rooting for these two to make it happen.

Then  West Harris enters the picture.  I swear most of the time I wanted to swat him one. Mostly because I was that irritated with him.

Turning around a prejudice towards a character is a hard thing for an author to have to do.  Making that turn here, well, it didn’t happen as smoothly for me as I think the author might have hoped.  I guess I thought certain connections should have been made far sooner than someone as bright as he was supposed to be.  Maybe it was because I adored Angel and Roman so much that they shone so brightly that took longer to connect with West.  That entirely possible.  I was certainly more emotionally engaged in the dynamics in the relationship between brothers first, and then between Angel and West.

Then all three, Angel, West and Roman, began to meld into a unit.  That’s when this story took flight.  I loved it when all three started to come together as a whole.  West became more layered, more a functioning human being.  The scenes as West and Roman discussed candy spreadsheets?  Priceless!  If Zig is focused on world domination, then Roman is be her CFO.  Rhys Ford should seriously consider writing a book filled with Zig’s and Roman’s and fantastical creatures and libraries bursting at the seams with books full of mystical things.  I’d buy them and hand them out on the street.  She writes children and pretweens like no one’s business.  I recognize them as I have one just like them in my family.   How much they enrich these stories can’t be measured.

Hanging the Stars pulled the mysteries together and the murderous reign of terror to an end in a totally satisfactory manner.  Yep, happy at the end. Ford left me wanting more as she always does.  And as we are all likely to get more…Half Moon Bay is a wonderful place.  I can’t wait to see who and what is coming next.

I recommend this story.  And the one before it.  The author too.  S’marvelous…all three!

Grab up the first and wait for this to come out.  And don’t be so hard on West Harris as I was.  He had Lang Harris (and 2 cats)  to overcome.  That’s a tough one in any case.
Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  I think its perfect for the character and in keeping with the series.

Sales Links – Pre Order

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Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: December 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634778985
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Half Moon Bay:

Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay, #1)

Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2)

A MelanieM Review: Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

fish-stick-fridaysDeacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

I was all set to read the sequel to Fish Stick Fridays when I decided to revisit the first story in the series to reacquaint myself with the characters and the setting of Half Moon Bay.  It  didn’t take long to be swept under the spell of Zig, Deacon, Lang and a orange cat that Zig is determined to call Fred.  How I had missed them.

Writing children into stories is always a iffy proposition.  They can always go so wrong.  Come off sounding not like children at all with dialog so stilted and adult, the character lacking some childish element.  But Zig?  Precocious, profane, wounded, insanely intelligent Zig?  Rhys Ford just nailed her right down to her combat pants, boots and pink tutus!  There she was from the moment we meet Zig, cursing, dirty, wary,  and oh so wonderful.  If, as Deacon says, she’s bent on world domination, well, I’m going to pitch in and help her.  Connection made.

Of course, there’s so much more to this story.  There’s the romance and mystery. With Zig, comes Deacon, her uncle with his own troubled past, Harley and new auto shop in Half Moon Bay.  *Waves fan* Like Lang, the minute Deacon appears in Fish Stick Friday, you lean in a little closer, the magnetism that Ford builds into this character oozing off the pages in line after line.  From the glasses that perch on his nose to his intelligence, its clear that Deacon is so much more than his looks.  Its his interactions with his niece first and then with  Lang.  All those conversations, intriguing dialog, literary references and the care with which they treat each other.  It not only pulls you into the story but into the characters, their relationship and the evolving family unit as a whole.  I love it when relationships get the full adult treatment.  Issues get talked out, full disclosures, etc.  That happens here and I loved every second of it, and this couple.

There is, of course, some nasty characters and mysteries at work here.  Its Rhys Ford people!  Its played off nicely.  It kept me guessing as to where the explosions and danger was coming next.  The suspense and anticipation ratcheted up perfectly.  And that ending?  Just want I wanted to happen!

Lang’s twin brother makes a brief appearance here and sets in motion the second book in the series, Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) which I will be reviewing next.  I had forgotten about him honestly until I reread the story.  Didn’t really like him, to be honest. Now I’m chuckling with glee.  Yes, I’ve already read that sequel.  No, you will have to wait for the  review.  What will Rhys Ford deliver next in this series?  I can hardly wait.  I’m loving Half Moon Bay with all its wonderful characters, oddball twists, and great stories.  I hope my favorite couples and Zig (and cats) make appearances in each and everyone.

I absolutely recommend this series.  Its out now in audiobook.  Look for our review by Lila coming soon as will my review of the sequel.  Rhys Ford remains one of my favorite authors.  Fish Stick Fridays and Half Moon Bay is just one more reason why.  Pick it up and find out for yourself if you haven’t already done so.

Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  The only thing more perfect would be the addition of a sidecar for  Zig.  Love it.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFish Stick Fridays
ISBN 1623809487 (ISBN13: 9781623809485)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesHalf Moon Bay #1 settingCalifornia (United States)